Born in Coventry on the 15th July 1039 into a large family, Tom grew up in Coventry and was always proud to call himself a Coventry Kid.

Tpr TI Parkes
Tpr TI Parkes

He remembered the war years, particularly the Blitz on Coventry and having emerged from a community air-raid shelter with his family to find that their house had received a direct hit.

On 12 February 1948 Tom enlisted in the Army and after Corps Training joined the 8th RTR. He transferred to the 4th Hussars early in 1948 and joined the Regiment in Malaya.

Due to ill health and after a period in hospital Tom was posted back to the UK in late 1949.

He served in Tidworth then with 6th Armoured Div in Germany. He returned to the UK in July 1952 and married Dorothy Kate Hope on 30 August 1952. During his last period of service, he was a batman to Maj Gen Prior Palmer.

Tom was discharged to the Reserve on 24 May 1953 and on leaving the service Tom and Dorothy lived in Hampshire where they started their family. Tom had a variety of jobs which included helping a local builder, greengrocer’s groundsman and a Co-op milkman.

In December 1960 they moved back to Tom’s birthplace, Coventry, and for 12 years Tom drove car transporters all over the country, which meant he was away from home quite often.

Eventually, he was employed as a test driver for Jaguar which meant his home life was more settled but with the advantage of trips to test circuits in Southern Italy. I gather he classed these trips as ‘working holidays’. He retired at the age of 62.

Tom and Dorothy had one son and three daughters who between them presented them with six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Tom died on 21 September 2007 aged 77.

He had various minor ailments but eventually, it appeared his arteries were furred up and after a week in the hospital, he died peacefully.

Related topics

  1. A short history of The 4th Hussars
  2. Malaya 1948-51